Bridging the summer hunger gap when kids lose access to school meals
Bridging the summer hunger gap
In Massachusetts, more than 400,000 students rely school meals. When school lets out for the summer, these kids lose out on a critical source of their daily nutrition. Summer Eats—the Massachusetts Summer Food Service Program—provides free meals to kids and teens during the summer months. Meals they may otherwise be going without. Project Bread works to expand access to Summer Eats to provide children with the nutrition they need to return to school healthy and ready to learn.
- 1 in 3 public school students who rely on school meals may not know where to turn when summer vacation begins.
- Hunger rises in the summer when children & teens lose access to school meals.
- Summer hunger can lead to learning loss & weight gain, putting low income youth at a disadvantage when they return to school in the fall.
For more than twenty years, Project Bread has teamed up with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education through our Child Nutrition Outreach Program to work hand-in-hand with summer meals sponsors and sites across the state to ensure all children have access to Summer Eats:
- Empowering communities. Starting or expanding a Summer Eats program is a community project. Project Bread brings all stakeholders to the table, from school districts to WIC offices to local churches or libraries, to build the best plan for ensuring all children have access to meals during the summer.
- Raising awareness. A lot of families who need Summer Eats, don’t know about it. Through multi-lingual state-wide promotion and outreach, Project Bread works to get the word out to communities and residents.
- Improving access. There can be any number of barriers keeping children and teens from participating in Summer Eats. Project Bread works to find solutions that make sense, from mobile trucks serving meals in rural communities to Summer Eats sites where kids already live, learn, and play—like at libraries, schools, and housing developments.
Impact of our work: 2019
- 1,100 Summer Eats sites across Massachusetts.
- 40 new Summer Eats sites opened.
- $111,500 in grants were provided to support Summer Eats sites across the state.
- 2,560,271 meals were served during summer break to kids and teens who rely on school meals for half of their daily nutrients.
Find a Summer Eats site
- Visit: www.meals4kids.org/summer
- Text: "FOOD" or "COMIDA" to 877-877
- Call: 1-800-645-8333 (Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline)
- Download: the "SummerEats" App for iPhone and Android
Project Bread provides annual grants to support these programs statewide thanks to funding from Partners HealthCare Foundation, Share Our Strength, and our generous supporters—like you!
For communities seeking to expand their summer meals programming, resources are availble at www.meals4kids.org/summermeals.